Barents opportunities highlighted

November 24, 2005, 14:10 CET

The Barents Sea could become Europe’s next offshore oil and gas province and an arena for industrial cooperation for many years to come, according to Statoil chief executive Helge Lund.

He was presenting the group’s perspectives on the far north at a seminar organised by the Norwegian Petroleum Society in Oslo today, 24 November.

“We now face major opportunities in the Barents Sea for cooperation between nations, industries and companies,” he said.

“These open the way to continuing to build on more than 30 years of development with Norwegian oil expertise in cooperation with our Russian partners.”

He emphasised that the far north has large oil and gas resources which could influence security of energy supply in the USA and Europe for generations.

“A clear trend in today’s energy picture is growing import dependence in major markets such as the USA, Europe and parts of Asia.

“Both Washington and Brussels regard the Barents Sea area as important for supply diversification and for securing long-term energy supplies.”

Mr Lund noted that Norway and Russia have an interest, as petroleum exporters, in developing new markets for their resources.

Being neighbours in the far north is one of several forces driving the hunt for industrial collaboration solutions. This picture offers the industry good opportunities for further growth.

But Mr Lund also highlighted the environmental challenges involved, and said that technology barriers need to be surmounted in the future.

“The easy projects have already been executed. We must make a big commitment to the technology and expertise needed for ever-deeper water, tougher climates and unconventional oil deposits.

“Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are expected to be more than 50 per cent above present levels by 2030. We can help to overcome these challenges, which must not overshadow the opportunities.

“Statoil has initiated petroleum activities in the Barents Sea. We’re the first in Europe to produce liquefied natural gas, and Snøhvit will have the world’s northernmost gas liquefaction plant when deliveries begin in December 2007.”